A Judgement in Stone review (UK Tour): The Coverdale family meets their maker, but who pulled the trigger?
A Judgement In Stone review by Katey Thompson at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking.
On one fateful night in their grand country house, the entire Coverdale family is gunned down, but the link to the killer is missing. George Coverdale (Mark Wynter) is a successful businessman in manufacturing, remarried to Jacqueline Coverdale (Rosie Thomson), who all live near a small village with their daughter Melinda (Jennifer Sims) and Giles (Joshua Price). They have a cleaner Eva Baalham (Shirley Anne Field) but decide they also require a house keeper Eunice Parchman (Sophie Ward). These characters are both grey non-descript people and Miss Parchman slowly manages to make the family dispense with the services of their cleaner.
Related: Not Dead Enough (UK Tour)
The first half of the play builds on the characters, and leads us slowly to the more interesting character Joan Smith who is flamboyantly played by Deborah Grant. It seems that the village are suspicious of the Coverdales, especially Joan who runs the post office and is suspected of reading their post, and spreading gossip about the family’s affairs. She quickly befriends the new housekeeper, Eunice and spends more time at the house.
The Detective Superintendent (Andrew Lancel) and Detective Sergeant (Ben Nealon) work through the cast of suspects, not forgetting the Gardener Rodger Meadows (Antony Costa), to try and find the killer. The question of how the murder weapons apparently made their way back to the gun cabinet goes unanswered, as the sleuth detective struggles to find the critical piece of evidence.
Perhaps a few more twists and turns were expected in this decent production, but since there are only a few potential murderers the possibilities are less. The only other suspect under any real pressure being the gardener with the dodgy past and bad temper, who was on parole at the time. The other members of the cast put on a good performance, and there were some nice scenes such as when George and Melinda sing to one other, while a stand-out character was Joan Smith, who too easily worms herself into the family, and ends up dancing on the table, while leading the dance with Eunice.
Overall the pace of plot development is a little slow and deliberate, gripping just about as much as any generic TV police drama.
A Judgement In Stone is running at the Woking New Victoria Theatre until Sunday 2nd June 2017 before continuing on its nationwide tour.